Killing Us Softly

pic Jeff Kern

So far we haven’t faced bullets here in Australia. But that doesn’t mean our enemies aren’t killing us. Softly and slowly.

Mainstream media at first didn’t mention that Pulse, Orlando, was a gay bar, trying to pass the massacre off as an ‘only’ an Islamic terror attack. LGBTI journalist Owen Jones was so incensed at this erasure that he stormed off a live Sky TV interview, protesting at attempts to rub us out of the picture.

“I’m sorry, I just find this the most astonishing thing I’ve ever been involved in on television. If  [Mateen had] walked into a synagogue and massacred dozens of Jewish people, you wouldn’t be saying what you’re saying now. You would be talking about it as an anti-semitic attack. This was a deliberate attack on LGBT people.”

 “At the end of the day this was a homophobic hate crime, as well as terrorism. And it has to be called out, as I have to say, on Sky News and lots of news channels, there’s not been many LGBT voices that I’ve heard myself… it is one of the worst atrocities committed against LGBT people in the western world for generations and it has to be called out as such.”

The evidence for homophobic motivation seems strong. The killer’s father said his son had been ‘outraged’ at the sight of two men kissing in the presence of his wife and daughter.

“Some months ago,” scoffed Sky presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer. Yet one of the killer’s former work colleagues confirmed Mateen had been spewing homophobia for months.

“I quit because everything he said was toxic and the company wouldn’t do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.”

Over on Fox News Sebastian Gorka also tried to apply the whitewash:

“It’s not a hate crime. It is part of an ideological military assault on the United States of America.”

Wrong. It is a hate crime. It is a homophobic crime. And an act of terrorism. And while Islam played a role, the stage was set and the pump was primed by the relentless anti-gay propaganda pumped out at ever-increasing volume by the Christian right. This was a crime fueled by religious zealotry of all stripes.

Every preacher, of every faith, Muslim, Christian, Jew, who has ever preached against LGBTI people, demeaned our relationships, denounced our “lifestyle”, slandered us as pedophiles, called us “broken”, insisted on the right to treat us as lesser beings – their fingers were on the trigger in Florida last night. Murderous bigotry is the same whatever the flavor. We are equal in the eyes of Christian and Islamic fundamentalists: they both hate us just as much.

Amanda Marcotte writes:

“LGBT people have been the favorite punching bag of the Christian right in this country for years. Whenever the Christian right needs to rally the troops, they start running around, hair on fire, screaming about how the queers are out to get your children… there is absolutely zero evidence that allowing LGBT people their basic rights has done any damage whatsoever to straight people, [whereas] there is a substantial amount of reason to believe that this constant drumbeat of bigoted rhetoric coming from the religious right makes the world less safe for LGBT folks.”

In Australia we have already seen Lyle Shelton, Wendy Francis, George Christensen, sundry bishops and archbishops, Andrew Bolt and many others torching their toupees at the tiniest provocation. As the election drags on, and a possible plebiscite looms, it will only get worse.

We don’t, yet, have gun-toting nutters rampaging through Australian gay bars. Yet. But as the rhetoric is pumped up by the ACL and their fellow travelers, who knows what it might trigger?

At least it would be quicker than the slow and subtle bullets they maim and kill us with now.

  • Tell LGBTI children they are damaged and broken, and can only be saved if they suppress their true nature and run to Jesus.
  • Throw LGBTI children out of schools.
  • Throw the children of LGBTI parents out of schools.
  • Prevent children from learning that yes, some of them are LGBTI, it’s perfectly normal, and here’s how to grow and flourish as who you were born to be. Instead LGBTI children are silenced and isolated, driven to cut and kill themselves: and the other children learn to dislike, fear and despise them.
  • Prevent LGBTI kids from learning how to have gay sex safely, responsibly, and enjoyably, exposing them to the risk of AIDS and other STIs.
  • Throw their own LGBTI children out on the streets.
  • Fight tooth and nail to prevent LGBTI parents from adopting unwanted children, preferring to abandon them to the childcare system, or to their abusive ‘natural’ parents.
  • Fight to stop LGBTI parents from marrying.
  • Force married couples to divorce if one of them is transgender.
  • And as a final insult, fail to investigate properly when we are attacked and murdered, turning a blind eye and covering up the truth for decades, even down to the present day.

And many more. Yes, the murderers of Australian LGBTI are more slow and subtle than Omar Mateen. But no less unhinged. And no less deadly.


About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)